How did Cashman and Marcus Stroman end their rift paving way for Yankees deal?

Yankees pitcher Marcus Stroman and GM Brian Cashman

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After simmering in resentment for a couple of years, the Yankees’ new pitcher, Marcus Stroman, has finally moved past his anger toward Brian Cashman. The turning point came with the genuine interest shown by Cashman and the Yankees in signing him this winter. Cashman, in turn, takes the blame for igniting a feud with Marcus Stroman four years ago and expresses relief that their verbal sparring has come to an end.

During separate Zoom calls with Yankees beat writers on Thursday, both parties conveyed sincerity in addressing their past issues. Marcus Stroman highlighted the swift resolution during their recent negotiations, mentioning that he and Cashman shared a laugh about previous matters, allowing them to move forward.

The Marcus Stroman-Cashman feud

The dynamics between them were intriguing and clearly irked Marcus Stroman, who responded vehemently to criticism on the social media platform ‘X’ formerly known as Twitter.

In 2019, when fans expected the Yankees to acquire Marcus Stroman, Cashman told something nasty about the sinkerball-throwing right-hander.

“We were interested in Stroman but we didn’t think he would be a difference-maker,” Cashman told Yahoo Sports in 2019. “We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason.”

Marcus Stroman, a Long Island native with dreams of being a Yankee, felt deeply hurt and rejected. The resentment lingered, leading to Stroman engaging with fans on Twitter over the years. In October 2020, after the Yankees experienced another playoff elimination, he tweeted that, apart from ace Gerrit Cole, “there’s no current Yankee pitcher who will be anywhere in my league over the next 5-7 years. Their pitching always folds in the end. That lineup and payroll should be winning World Series left and right…yet they’re in a drought. Lol.”

A year later, following another postseason disappointment for the Yankees, Marcus Stroman reposted his earlier comment on Twitter along with a new jab:

“This tweet will continue to age unbelievably well.”

Stroman ultimately ended up being traded to the Mets on July 28 instead of joining the Yankees, with the deal involving two pitching prospects, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.

Marcus Stroman pitched for the Queens team until he entered free agency after the 2021 season, subsequently signing a three-year, $71 million deal with the Cubs that included an opt-out after this season, which he activated. In the previous season, he earned his second All-Star nod while posting a 10-9 record with a 3.95 ERA in 27 appearances.

Cashman and Marcus Stroman left the past behind

During his Zoom session on Thursday, Marcus Stroman downplayed the exchanges and comments. However, Cashman took the opportunity to elaborate on his perspective, emphasizing the importance of sharing his side of the story. He believes that his remarks in 2020 were misunderstood because the Yankees were genuinely interested in acquiring Stroman for the stretch run that season.

Cashman, on the other hand, still harbors regret for asserting in 2019 that Marcus Stroman wasn’t deemed good enough to be part of the Yankees’ postseason rotation after passing on acquiring him at the summer trade deadline that year.

“Listen, my bad,” Cashman acknowledged.

Cashman disclosed that at the time of the trade when Marcus Stroman moved from Toronto to the Mets, the Yankees were actively pursuing him. He confirmed their interest in the pitcher and clarified that the reluctance to complete the deal with Toronto was primarily due to the high asking price, particularly considering Toronto being a divisional rival.

Further explaining, Cashman noted that in an interview, he had aimed to provide context for the decision not to finalize the trade with Toronto for Marcus Stroman. He clarified that the hesitation stemmed from the perceived high asking price, which he believed would not result in a significant impact justifying the trade. Cashman acknowledged that the framing of the situation during the interview did not effectively convey his intended message and expressed regret for any confusion.

Cashman emphasized his regard for Marcus Stroman as a quality player and confirmed his attempt to trade for him during the Toronto-to-Mets deal. Taking responsibility for any miscommunication, Cashman promptly reached out to Stroman’s agent to convey his apologies. While expressing readiness to have a direct conversation with Stroman if needed, no such phone conversation occurred. Consequently, he extended his apology through Stroman’s agent.

Cashman highlighted that Marcus Stroman is a player who embraces the challenge of performing on the big stage and under the bright lights of New York. He pointed out that while some players might find New York too demanding, Stroman is not among them.

Cashman emphasized that Marcus Stroman actively sought to join the Yankees, expressing a desire for significant opportunities and thriving in competitive environments. He underscored Stroman’s attitude, stating that the pitcher welcomes challenges and has displayed this mindset since his amateur days. According to Cashman, this commitment to competition was consistently reinforced throughout the Yankees’ thorough evaluations and discussions with various sources.

Peace talks that greenlit Yankees signing

The Yankees began internal discussions about Stroman even before losing out on their initial choice for a rotation upgrade on December 22 when Yoshinobu Yamamoto chose the Dodgers.

The Yankees signed Marcus Stroman on January 11, 2024, for two years.

During the GM Meetings in November, Marcus Stroman’s current agent, former Mets GM Brody Van Wagenen, brought up the possibility of Stroman joining the Yankees to Cashman.

Cashman noted that Marcus Stroman was now a free agent, with the conversation about him potentially joining the Yankees initiated by former Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Van Wagenen reassured Cashman that there were no lingering issues between Stroman and the Yankees. As negotiations progressed, Cashman stressed the importance of having a direct conversation with Stroman to address any concerns or potential misunderstandings.

As the discussions between the Yankees and Marcus Stroman intensified, Cashman finally had an opportunity to express his thoughts directly.

Cashman mentioned that during his conversation with Marcus Stroman, the pitcher downplayed the need for a direct conversation, stating that it wasn’t necessary and emphasizing a focus on the future rather than the past. Cashman, however, insisted that addressing the past was important to him, wanting Stroman to fully understand the previous circumstances and clarify any intentions or misunderstandings.

Cashman personally apologized to Marcus Stroman during the conversation, emphasizing the importance of addressing any lingering issues. Despite Stroman’s attempts to downplay the need for an apology, Cashman found it crucial to clarify the situation, expressing regret for how it played out in the media and acknowledging his own responsibility in the matter.

The Yankees are reportedly looking at pitcher Marcus Stroman to boost their pitching.

With the past behind them, Marcus Stroman emerged as the Yankees’ choice to fill a rotation vacancy created when Michael King was part of the trade with the Padres that brought in star outfielder Juan Soto.

Marcus Stroman conveyed his excitement about joining the Yankees, expressing his eagerness to compete and perform in the challenging environment of the Bronx. He described the opportunity as a perfect fit for his competitive spirit.

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